Disney World.


We went to Disney World!

We went in September during Tom’s fall break — and we were thrilled to have BOTH sets of grandparents with us, too!

The kids had a truly wonderful time!

(And I learned a lot about what I want to do differently next time. Ha!)

I’m so thankful for the memories made.  I love that the kids wanted to go back almost immediately.  I will always be thrilled that the kids got to experience this place with us and their grandparents — it was truly awesome.

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Mickey left gifts in their rooms at night — it was a big hit!  (The Donald and Rapunzel were new for them this year.  How does Mickey always know exactly what they want?!)

We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort this time.  There were lots of things we liked about this hotel — one thing that was neat was that a small bed folded down out of the wall — Tom slept in it every night! (When it comes to Disney resorts, I’m not loyal. Ha! I’ll probably switch every time.)

The first night we arrived, we made Tom’s dreams come true with dinner at this place.  We’ve watched YouTube videos of this restaurant for 2 years — and we were finally, really there!  He was STOKED.  He told me that this, “was the best day of his entire life!”  And it was the most awesome place.  Adored it.

Alice and Grandma!

The next morning, we all headed to the Magic Kingdom!

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The teacups were her favorite!  Of course!  We rode this one twice, she loved it so much!

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The carousel with Mimi!

We didn’t know this beforehand, but the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was closed down while we were there!  This devastated Tom — like, he cried when we got there and saw it. (Lesson 1 learned: ALWAYS CHECK the status of your favorite rides beforehand so you’re prepared!)  But then he perked right up when he realized the gift shop was still open!  Ha!  He seriously played in here for like…30 minutes?  It was hilarious.  He told me his favorite ride was Peter Pan, but his favorite thing was probably this gift shop!

We sat down to eat ice cream in the afternoon, and a show was going on at the castle!  With princesses and an evil witch. Alice LOVED THIS.  She said that this show (that she watched from afar) was her favorite thing!  She was amazed!

(Lesson 2 learned: Do NOT focus on the rides so much next time, Kate!  The kids loved the shows and parades going on around us more.)

Like this dancing parade?  LOVED!  They danced and danced!

Tom ended the night on the beach at our resort.  Sooooo nice!  My favorite thing about our resort was that because it is so spread out — it felt totally NOT crowded.  Every night, we had our beach to ourselves mostly.  It was crazy awesome.

Day 2: Epcot!

On this day we headed to Epcot for breakfast with the princesses!  Then we rode a couple things and headed back to our resort for lunch.  We ended the day back at the Magic Kingdom.


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Alice met ALL the princesses and could not have been more thrilled!  Best day ever for her!  And she participated in the princess parade — she’s even waving to her kingdom!  LOVE her!

Tom and I are famous!  Famous scuba divers!  Ha!

And then we headed back to the Magic Kingdom for a couple hours in the evening.  And y’all?  This was the best.

Our first day at MK had been stressful for me — their app (which you basically have to use) was down much of the day. (Lesson 3: have hard copies with your reservation info!).

So on this day, I’d decided not to stick with all these crazy FastPass reservations so much.  It’s just…stressful to me.  So when we got to MK that evening, I asked the kids if they wanted to meet Mickey (which we had a FP for) and they said, “No!”  Ha ha!  So we didn’t.  We ate dinner instead.  Everything was much better for us this way for us!  Just…whatever, man!

So out of our three FPs we had for that evening — Alice and I used one.  Tom and Kevin used zero.  :)

Here’s our one:

We met Tink!  Alice loved meeting characters this time!

Our first time seeing this!  Kids were IN AWE.  So, so amazed!

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Tom was seriously screaming the whole time.  Calling out everything he saw.  BEST.

And the last day, we headed to the Animal Kingdom!


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There’s a hippo in there!



And that’s it!  It was a crazy, fast, fun, memory-filled time!  The kids absolutely cannot wait to go back!  Tom asked if we could go tomorrow. Ha!

See ya real soon, Disney!

(But not tomorrow.) ;)


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Georgia State Parks: Red Top Mountain State Park.


October park: Red Top Mountain State Park.


Out of all of our state park visits this year — this is the one where we TENT CAMPED!

I was so excited to see how the kids would do — and you know what?

They did GREAT.  Really, really great!

Especially considering that we are the proud owners of a tent that does not keep rain water out.

Ha! More on that later!

We were lucky to have friends agree to camp along with us, and it was awesome!

I’m so happy they came!  They have two boys around our kids’ ages, and the kids played together the entire time.  It was so great!

Our friends had also scoped out the sites before we got there, so our camping spot was great — right next to the playground!

We couldn’t have asked for a better site and a better family to be with us.

Red Top is about 40 minutes north of us, and I picked it for our first tent camping trip because I knew it was close to civilization, and our house, just in case something happened.

You know…something like TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS.

And you know what?  I’m so smart.

(And humble.)

Because this is what the inside of our tent looked like Saturday morning:


And you guys?  We flipped this over halfway through the night.  So that is only the rain that collected on our bed for the second half.


Here’s what Kevin and I looked like Saturday morning:


Ha ha!  Kidding!  We looked like this:


Kids were rock stars!  Alice SLEPT THROUGH THE ENTIRE THING.

Like…she woke up in soaking wet clothes Saturday morning, and had no idea why.

That little nut!

So Saturday morning, we packed up all of our (soaking wet) stuff in garbage bags and headed back to our house for some hot baths, naps and washer/dryer action.

(Our friends and their tent were fine, by the way!  Our poor tent…)

We woke up Sunday well rested and ready to head back to Red Top!

We spent the day with our friends, checking out the park, fishing and eating a picnic lunch.  Sunday was a great, beautiful day and I’m so happy we were able to really enjoy the park.

The thing that surprised me most about this park?

How beautiful it is!  It has the neatest trestle-looking bridge that you drive over to get there — it’s just amazing!

And I would really love to check out more of their trails — the views of the lake are just beautiful.

I cannot believe I’d never been there, even though it’s not far from us!

I cannot wait to go back.

(And maybe surprisingly, I cannot wait to tent camp again!)

((Maybe with a little less flooding.)) ;)















Read about our other Georgia State Park adventures so far this year!

January park: Sweetwater Creek State Park.
February park: FDR State Park.
March park: Providence Canyon State Park
April park: George L. Smith State Park
May park: Tallulah Gorge State Park
June park: Watson Mill Bridge State Park
July park: Indian Springs State Park
August park: Panola Mountain State Park
September park: Amicalola Falls State Park

Follow our adventures on Instagram! #12parksin2015

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Georgia State Parks: Amicalola Falls State Park.


September park: Amicalola Falls State Park.

I have been to Amicalola quite a bit over the years.  It is just so, SO beautiful!  I cannot visit there enough.

Kevin and I have even seen a mama bear and her babies playing at Amicalola before!


But what I haven’t done until now, was stay in their lodge.

Y’all.  I am in love with a lodge.

(Kevin knows.)

It was amazing.  It was awesome.  Our view was amazing AND awesome.  The room I picked gave me about 20 heart attacks, but that was my fault (more on that later).

What I’m saying is: It was the greatest.  We had a blast.


Amicalola is about 1.5 hours from us.  We could’ve totally done a drive there and back in a day, but I’d been dying to stay at the lodge, so we stayed on a Sunday night (Labor Day weekend).  The drive up there is insanely easy, and you can tell you’re getting close when everything starts looking beautiful.


We arrived Sunday around lunchtime.  The parking lots were pretty crowded, so we went ahead and parked at the lodge, and then walked from there to the top of the falls.  Even though the lots were full, it didn’t feel “crowded.”  It just felt busy and fun.  It was really great.

The kids immediately wanted to take their shoes off and wade in the water at the top, so we did that for basically forever.  Tom wanted to live in it.

I had packed a picnic lunch, so we had that by the water.

Afterwards, we hiked a little to see some of the views, and so Alice could climb rocks.

At this park, you can walk the billion steps to see spectacular views of the falls — we did NOT do this.  I’ve done it before.  I am not brave enough to do it with my children yet.  (And you shouldn’t be either. Ha!)

Then we checked in at the lodge.  The kids were thrilled we were staying there!  So fun!

At the lodge, we hung out in our room, went out and played on the back lawn with new friends, ate dinner downstairs, watched the sunset outside, and then headed back to our room for bed.  It totally felt like a dream.  I just felt so lucky to be there!

The next morning, after breakfast downstairs, we drove to the bottom of the falls and walked the short uphill hike to the bottom of the falls.


And then we ended our time with a visit to the coolest pumpkin patch ever across the street.

We were home by lunch!


Oh my goodness, the lodge!

It was so, so awesome.

The views were spectacular!  The mountain views from our room were so great, I just wanted to sit there and stare at them.

Now, here’s where I kinda, sorta messed up.

I purposefully got a room that had a 10-foot ladder leading to a loft with a bed.

I thought having that loft, and that bed would be so fun and exciting for the kids.  And IT WAS.

But what I wasn’t thinking about when I booked it, is that Alice is 3 years old and completely FEARLESS!

The whole time I was an anxious mess!  I kept saying, “Alice, tell me if you want to go up!  Tell me if you want to come down!  Don’t get too close to the ladder!”

Y’all!  I was a nut.

Tom was no problem.  He’s careful anyway, and at 5 years old, was totally fine.

Alice had no accidents, but she was trying to climb over that ladder like she was in her gym class!

The kids absolutely loved it — but this mama was kicking herself for picking it!


Very high.  This park has never disappointed.  The views are so special.  There are so many fun activities for the kids.  It feels like a “real” vacation — like you’re in a completely different place.  I cannot believe how close it is to Atlanta!  And the lodge was the best thing ever!  I cannot wait to go back.

View from the lodge.



View from our hike.

From the top of the falls!


The lodge.

Loft room!



View from our window in the morning.




Read about our other Georgia State Park adventures so far this year!

January park: Sweetwater Creek State Park.
February park: FDR State Park.
March park: Providence Canyon State Park
April park: George L. Smith State Park
May park: Tallulah Gorge State Park
June park: Watson Mill Bridge State Park
July park: Indian Springs State Park
August park: Panola Mountain State Park

Follow our adventures on Instagram! #12parksin2015

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Georgia State Parks: Panola Mountain State Park.


August park: Panola Mountain State Park.

I had been purposely saving this state park just in case I needed a park that was nearby.

And I totally needed it!

My original plan for August was to stop by High Falls State Park on our way home from visiting my parents last weekend.  But…I was SO tired, and it was a rainy day — so we didn’t stop.

But that meant we needed a state park for this month — yay for Panola!


Panola Mountain is in Stockbridge, right off I-20 (about 40 minutes from our house).  We got there around 10 a.m.  When we got there it wasn’t crowded or anything, but several of the picnic pavilions already had groups getting ready to grill out.  But it seemed all the picnic pavilions had their own parking, as did the playground, nature center and bike path — which I thought was great.


The real question should be: What didn’t we do? Ha!  I felt like we SO MUCH at this state park.  This was basically the total opposite of our Tallulah Gorge experience. (Again…sorry, Tallulah!)

We brought our bikes, so when we first arrived we rode our bikes on the PATH Foundation paved trail to the Panola Mountain overlook.  After that, we checked out their nature center, which was really great!

Then we headed over to their “famous” 100-foot tall Southern Red Oak.  It’s in another part of the park, so we made the short drive to the other side for this. (They do tree climbing excursions on certain weekends using this tree — and I am dying to do it!  Which is why I was kind of passionate about seeing it.)  A short walk from the parking lot took us to the tree! We were the only people at the tree at the time.  It was beautiful!  And they had picnic tables there, so that’s where we ate our lunch.  Later, when I asked the kids what their favorite thing was from the day, Tom said this was his favorite part.  We just ate, and played and ran around — it was really fun.

After this, we headed to their playground for a while (Alice’s favorite part).  Then back to the nature center — where we talked with one of their park rangers about a short hike.  And she sent us on the Overlook Trail — which was awesome.  And she gave our kids nature booklets and a scavenger hunt to complete!  (They did, and they got a cute prize at the end.)  It was a really, really fun, full day!


This was a really neat park with a lot of stuff to do.  Kevin loved this park because of all the activities.  Panola Mountain (a 100-acre granite outcrop similar to Stone Mountain) itself is special because it was never quarried.  So it is pristine.  To hike this mountain, you must have a reservation and go with a guide.  You can see Panola from their overlooks, though!  And if you look really, really closely, you can see Stone Mountain in the distance from the Overlook Trail.  We loved our day here.  There was so much to do, and all of it was great.  Everyone here was extremely nice, and I feel like if we lived a little bit closer, we’d be here all the time.  (They also have archery lessons, which seemed very popular, and they have a lake with kayak and boat rentals.  So much to do!)






(Stone Mountain waaaaaayyyy in the distance.)

Alice didn’t want a picture this day. She had fun all day, even immediately after this.  Just NO PICTURES. (Sorry, Alice!)

Read about our other Georgia State Park adventures so far this year!

January park: Sweetwater Creek State Park.
February park: FDR State Park.
March park: Providence Canyon State Park
April park: George L. Smith State Park
May park: Tallulah Gorge State Park
June park: Watson Mill Bridge State Park
July park: Indian Springs State Park

Follow our adventures on Instagram! #12parksin2015

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Georgia State Parks: Indian Springs State Park.


July park: Indian Springs State Park.

Indian Springs State Park is one of the oldest state parks in the United States (and may be the oldest)!

We pass near it on our way to visit my parents, so it had been on my radar for awhile — and I’m so glad we were able to finally go!

I actually camped at this state park with friends in high school during spring break — but I honestly didn’t remember it AT ALL.

(I have the worst memory!  I swear my lack of memories has nothing to do with alcohol or drugs or anything. Ha! Plus, high school was a LONG time ago for me!)


We went on a sunny, hot Sunday.  My original plan was that we would combine a visit to this park with a visit to my parents’ house, but the timing just didn’t work out.  So we drove down to Indian Springs just for the day.  From Atlanta, it took about an hour and 20 minutes (mostly interstate, and then driving through some small towns).  An easy drive, for sure!


So I knew that what we wanted to do was walk on the rocks and wade in the water.  But when we got there, it was almost completely deserted, so I wasn’t even sure if the rocks we were seeing was where wading was allowed or what! Ha! I’m such a rule-follower.  But it quickly became clear that the rocks we saw at the entrance, was what we were supposed to be doing.  So we had it to ourselves for the majority of the time!  It was great!  The kids LOVED this.  They really got to explore this place.  Most of the water was pretty shallow, so that was great for playing, too.  We packed a lunch, and ate it on the rocks.  It was really, really pretty and fun.

We also got to sample the spring water inside the stone Spring House (built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression).  The water totally smelled like sulfur, but Kevin and I tried it anyway! The kids just put their hands in it, and had fun exploring the house.  The Creek Indians used to collect this water and believed it had healing powers.  So neat.

This park also has a lake and beach, but the kids were so enamored with the rocks and water, they weren’t even interested in going to see it!


This park was great. Really quiet. Really, really relaxing.  It totally felt like a lazy Sunday, except we spent it somewhere different.  I loved it.

Kevin thought it was hot.  If you asked him what he thought, he would just say, “It was hot.”  He has no positive opinions in the heat of a Georgia summer, unless he’s actually *in* the water.  Totally understandable!  He also thought the spring water was really, really neat.  That was his favorite.

The kids thought it was GREAT.  They really loved this one.





Read about our other Georgia State Park adventures so far this year!

January park: Sweetwater Creek State Park.
February park: FDR State Park.
March park: Providence Canyon State Park
April park: George L. Smith State Park
May park: Tallulah Gorge State Park
June park: Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Follow our adventures on Instagram! #12parksin2015

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Georgia State Parks, Kevin, Tom, Travel | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Naked In Wal-Mart.

A couple weeks ago, I took Alice with me to Wal-Mart to buy all the supplies Tom would need for Kindergarten.


I sat her in the cart, and proceeded to go up and down the school supply section armed with the list and a determination to score all 24 glue sticks, yellow spiral-bound notebooks, and green plastic folders with brads that were needed.

After we were done with the school supplies, we then trekked all over the super store to get the antibacterial wipes, the Clorox, the hand soap, the baby wipes, and the special requested copy paper, because I am a suck up.

After my cart was full of all things Kindergarten-related, I realized I’d forgotten one thing, and that it was (of course!) on the other side of the store.

So as I’m walking up another full aisle of Wal-Mart, to get that one. last. thing. Alice says loudly…



Me (quiet-sort-of-loud-whisper): “What?!  Why are you saying that?  Of course you have panties on!”

Alice (proving it):  “No I don’t!”

She didn’t.

And then I died.

I had walked all over that huge store. For an hour. With my child in a short dress. Sitting in that cart.  NO PANTIES.

In Wal-Mart.

Chandler Bing (probably): “Could you BE any more Wal-Mart?” #friends

No. No we could not.

She didn’t say it in the beginning of this trip.  You know, when I could’ve…bought panties for the little stinker who insists on taking them off whenever!

Nope. Full on HOUR LATER.

So…I just took her out of the cart.  Told her to walk (you know, instead of flashing EVERYONE in the school aisle!) to the check-out and to please, please, PLEASE not pull up her dress.  Or speak.

She did.

Check-out was mercifully uneventful and we made it to the car without arrest.

Remember that time Kevin took Tom to school with no pants?

Yeah.  Well, apparently it’s contagious!

Enjoy the crayons, Tom!

Your naked bottomed little sis picked them out! ;)

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Georgia State Parks: Watson Mill Bridge State Park.


June park: Watson Mill Bridge State Park.

This was the first month that I was a little bit challenged when it came to working our monthly state park visit into our schedule.

And that’s why I’m so glad we have this plan!

Because if I didn’t have this plan to stick to (according to me) then we probably wouldn’t have gone to Watson Mill Bridge State Park — and that would mean missing out on such a wonderful state park!

I am so, so happy we did this one!

It was really amazing, right up our alley, and a great one to visit in the warm summer months!


We headed out to this state park after my nephew’s 4th birthday party that morning.  My sister’s family lives about 40 minutes from this park (in Athens), so that wasn’t bad at all!  We also stopped back by her house on the way home and had dinner with them to break it up — which was great for us.  But this state park is worth the visit, no matter where you live.


I know you’re going to think I’m weird, but I honestly did not realize until we were there, that Watson Mill Bridge was still a working covered bridge that you actually drove through.  Ha!  It was amazing!!  So very, very neat.  It’s the longest wooden covered bridge in Georgia (229 feet) and was just very impressive.  So beautiful!

We arrived in the afternoon (maybe around 2:30 p.m.) and found parking right away.  We put the kids in their suits (I just did it in the car) and walked to the water, which was right next to the lot.  Several families were having picnics, and there were quite a few families in the water, but I wouldn’t call it “crowded” or anything.  I just thought it was great so many people were out there enjoying it!

And it was so great!  The only warning I would give, is that the rocks were super slippery if you weren’t on the ones that had moss.  The mossy ones were good.  The others were so slick, it was scary!  I was scared to hold Alice, in case I fell!  But once we got that figured out, and found a good place to “set up” we were good.  Alice found a  little waterfall she loved.  Tom found a “deep” pool to swim in.  I found a crayfish that I didn’t realize *was* a crayfish, and was really scared of.  And Kevin found an old high school buddy to catch up with.  It was great.

I loved that you could walk right up to the “waterfall” at the bridge.  And I loved that there was so much to see. The kids just adored it.

After we’d been there about 90 minutes, it started to get really windy and the thunder sounded close — so we decided to head back out.

But I KNOW this is one we will visit again this year.  It was just really, really great.


This one is ranked high for me.  I loved the activity of swimming and exploring the rocks.  It was the perfect thing to do on a summer day, with the most beautiful backdrop.  LOVED!






Read about our other Georgia State Park adventures so far this year!

January park: Sweetwater Creek State Park.
February park: FDR State Park.
March park: Providence Canyon State Park
April park: George L. Smith State Park
May park: Tallulah Gorge State Park

Follow our adventures on Instagram! #12parksin2015

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Georgia State Parks, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom, Travel | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments